Become a nutritionist

Become a nutritionist

In the next in our series about taking on new roles we look at how to become a nutritionist.

The Basics

Here’s a short summary of what a nutritionist is and does.

Nutritionists are experts in food consumption who provide evidenced-based dietary advice to improve the health and wellbeing of others. They are often based in public health, local authorities or the food industry, and work closely with dieticians, nurses, other healthcare professionals. Nutritionists have great communication skills, a positive mental attitude, and have the ability to motivate others to improve their lifestyle (National Careers Service).

Step by Step

Taking on any new role can be daunting. Here’s a step-by-step guide for getting started with nutrition.

1. Improve your knowledge of biology and chemistry.
2. Get a qualification in nutrition, such as a BSc in Nutritional Science or related subject.
3. Keep up-to-date with nutritional news and current areas of interest.
4. Get to know one or more of the following specialisms: Animal Nutrition, Food Nutrition, Nutrition Science, Public Health Nutrition and Sports 5. Nutrition (AFN).
5. Use work placements to practice your skills and decide which industry is right for you.
6. Become a registered Nutritionist.

Key Skills

Find out what abilities you need to be a nutritionist.

Science Skills: Nutritionists use scientific knowledge to provide accurate information to others about the effects of nutrition (National Careers Service). You’ll need excellent knowledge of human biology and chemistry, and love the science of food.

Communication Skills: Nutritionists often talk to people from a range of different backgrounds in a variety of settings. You’ll need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely to others, and have great listening skills.

Empathy and Positivity: Nutritionists are empathetic towards the dietary issues of others. You’ll need to be motivational and positive person who enjoys helping people change their eating habits.

Organisational Skills: As a nutritionist you’ll be juggling a range of different day-to-day tasks: researching, testing samples, writing detailed reports and more. You’ll need to have excellent organisational skills in order to multi-task, meet tight deadlines and remain on top of your game.

Dos and Don’ts

Discover what to do and what not to do as an aspiring nutritionist.


✅ Research different specialisms and find out what’s right for you.
✅ Develop your communication and interpersonal skills.
✅ Remember your Continuous Professional Development (CPD).


❎ Think it’ll be easy – nutritionists are highly skilled experts in their field.
❎ Stop learning – keep up-to-date on breakthrough nutritional findings and current health issues.
❎ Assume people will listen to your advice – be an inspiration to others.


Hear from a qualified nutritionist.

Melissa Adamsk is an experienced dietitian and nutritionist. She works with the Nutrition and Dietetics department at Monash University and is a mentor on the Food as Medicine course.

We asked her: what qualities do you need to become a great nutritionist?

To become a great nutritionist you need to have a combination of science knowledge and people skills. It is important to be able to critically analyse scientific research and information. There is a plethora of information regarding nutrition, food and health available, and people look to nutritionists to be able to correctly interpret this information. Being able to appraise and translate information for different audiences is crucial, as you need to help people gain access to the right information. Using current evidence for recommendations and remaining open minded to new research developments is essential. Strong communication skills are imperative, as well as the ability to balance your knowledge of nutrition and health with the unknown, and provide clear information to others.

Get Started with Nutrition

Get practical help to become a nutritionist with courses from top organisations.

Learn the basics of nutrition and food science with these online nutrition courses:

Get an introduction to the science of nutrition with The Science of Nutrition by The Open University
Find out how to use food as medicine with Food as Medicine by Monash University
Explore nutrition in early childhood with Infant Nutrition: from Breastfeeding to Baby’s First Solid by Deakin University